Ranch Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I awoke to the obnoxious beeping of my alarm clock. I tossed aside the sheets, threw on a camouflage outfit and scampered to the kitchen where I was welcomed by the scents of fresh coffee and cinnamon buns and the sight of my dad's excited face. We downed breakfast, not wanting to waste a minute of the precious day. When we walked outside, the temperature was miserable and frost covered the ground. The wind bit at our faces but we decided to explore one of Dad's favorite spots - an abandoned road that leads nowhere. Our goal was to explore the wilderness and appreciate the beauty of nature.

As we ventured down this favorite road, I whispered that there was a black object in the distance. Cautiously, like two mice in uncharted territory, we approached it to discover it was in fact a skunk. Only seconds later we became aware of its identity as two more skunks came out from the bushes.

We watched silently as the three varmints dug for roots in the icy ground. Suddenly, we spotted a coyote trotting toward them. Sensing a threat, the largest skunk raised its tail, reminding the coyote who was boss. At the sight of this counter-attack, the coyote froze. Seconds later, the coyote again shuffled toward the skunks, foolishly testing his limits. Following his instincts, the largest skunk, his tail held high, raced toward the coyote who barely escaped the skunk's putrid wrath. Eventually, after scavenging for food, the skunks wandered off.

Chuckling at our astonishing experience, we turned, only to stumble across another skunk. Luckily, it was too small to put up a fight and retreated into the woods. Thoroughly convinced we were surrounded by them, we decided to leave for fear of becoming victims of their spray.

The rest of the morning passed slowly. At one point a flock of sandhill cranes flew overhead, their distinct bugling breaking the silence, holding our attention until they were just crumbs in a milky-white sky.

Lunch in Pearsall, Texas, population 10,000, is always a treat. We drove to our favorite spot, a small barbeque joint named Cowpokes. It is my visual definition of delight, a bistro worth every ounce of grease.

Returning to the ranch, we took our afternoon siesta. Then, we awoke to the sound of pig grunts. I hopped off the couch and peered through the window. A group of seven javelinas, a ratty animal that resembles a small pig, trotted toward the mesquite brush line.

I leapt into our ranch vehicle and drove to a small field covered with tiny oat sprouts where I snuck through the bushes and sat perfectly still behind a fallen oak tree. Within minutes, a small doe trotted by, no more than 25 feet away. Minutes passed until finally two small bucks entered my field of vision. Soon, a fight broke out, and their horns clashed like steam engines plowing toward each other on the same track. The fight finally ended, and the victor chased his enemy into the forest. I looked at the sky; it was nearly sunset, the blue sky containing only a hint of magenta. I headed back home, sad to leave.

Reminiscing about the day's events, my dad and I flew down the highway into the painted colors of a Texas sunset. Although the day's odyssey had come to an end, I know my haven will always be in the woods of south Texas.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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